Friday, April 26, 2013

Joanne Fluke, RED VELVET CUPCAKE MURDER (Cozy with Recipes)

Amateur sleuth Hannah Swensen is part owner of a bakery. Whether it's consoling a (living) victim, trying reassure her two boyfriends, or creating an alluring day at the shop so that local sources of information find themselves hovering over the desserts and leaking a few clues, Swensen is sure to stir up some yummy recipes while sampling the murder mystery laid into her life.

Unlike many of the cozy-with-recipes books, though, this one doesn't group the baking directions at the rear of the book -- they are cleverly interspersed in the text, and even foreshadowed! From the Easy Fruit Pie to the Raspberry Bar Cookies to a killer guacamole, there's a lot to drool over. And that doesn't even count the condos Hannah Swensen is eyeing with envy, when sudden death interrupts her catered party. Even her coveted Red Velvet Cupcakes aren't an unmixed blessing -- in fact, they may be drawing more suspicion to her, something she could have avoided if she ever walked away from a crisis -- but that's just not Hannah!

Tuck this one in the beach bag this summer; just make sure you have reservations for supper after your day at the beach, because your tastebuds will only accept a certain degree of teasing before they insist on satisfaction ... something in common with this sweetly tangled murder plot, which Hannah needs to resolve before people she cares about are thrust into danger.

PS -- Cook's note -- If you're more into organic veggies, breads baked from scratch, and even gluten-free recipes, skip this one and wait for Edith Maxwell's locavore mystery, A Tine to Live, A Tine to Die (end of May release; review soon-ish). Fluke's recipes are more dependent on mixes and other staples of the 1960s kitchen -- yummy though they can be!

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